Kennedy Children

Figure 1.--Here we see the Kennedy children in swimwear, probably at theur summer Hyannis Port cottage. It looks like it was taken about 1925. You see President Kennedy's famous grin here. Teddy was not yet born.

Joseph and Rose Kennedy founded a remarkable family in which the young W UP>. It was a large, action filled family. There were nine children. Tragedy followed many of theirlives. Four died in tragic circumstances and one had to be instituionalized. The two oldest were Joe and Jack. Joe by all accounts used Jack as if not a punching bag, a good deal of older brother sparring. There is a good chance that if he had survived World War II that he would have been the Kennedy who became president. In addition to Jack, younger brothers Robert and Teddy would go on to have renarkable political careers. This did not happen by accident, it relates to the family atmosphere created by their parents. There were also a substanial number of grandchildren some of whom also entered public life.


Jack Kennedy was the second child in a family that would eventually have nine children.

Joe Jr. (1915-44)

Joseph Patrick was the eldest child. He and Jack were about the same age and grew up together. They competed intesely with each other as boys with Jack who was younger and smaller usully coming off second best. It was Joe that their father dreamed of, after the colapse of his own political career because he refused to back FDR's efforts to support Britain aftr World War II broke out. One of his concerns as was the case for many parents was that they would lose their sons in a war. Joe almost lost both his older boys. He did lose Joe who volunteered to fly a B-24 into a fortified beach position in the Atlantic wall. His bomb laden B-24 exploded before he could bail out, ending his father's dream.

Jack (1917-63)

Jack was the second eldest. He had medical problems from an early age, but strove to keep up with his elder brother. He was seriously injured as a PT-boat captain in the Pacific War. He did not contemplate a political career of his own until he returned after World War II.


Rosemary was mildly retarded as she grew older she became frustrated at her inability to keep up with her brothers and sisters. As a result she became increasinly difficult to handle. Her father tried an operation that was recommended at the time (a lobotomy). He did not discuss it first with Rose. The operation proved disastrous and she had to be instituionalized.


Kathleen was the most rebelious daughter. She was killed in a car accident in Europe.




Robert was several years younger than his big brothers and did not serve in the World War II. He looked up to both his older btothers. He was probably the most intense and driven of the btothers. He played an important role in his brother's political career including the 1960 presidential campaign. He opposed the selection of Lydon Johnso as the vice presidential candidate. Here he is almost certainnly wrong. Johnson helped carry Texas and several southern states, earing a very narrow Electoral College victory. President Kenndy appointed him Attorney General and from tghat post he played an important role in the Civil Rights movement. He was devestated when Jack was assassinated. He left the cabinet as a result of disagreements with President Johnson. He challenged the President over the Vietnam War. After winning tghe California Primary, he was assasinated by Palestinian nationaliset Sirhan Sirhan (1968).


Edward (1932-2009)

Teddy was the baby of the family and doughted on by his parents. Because of the age difference he did not spend much time with his two oldest brothers, Joe and Jack. He was still relatively young when his father was appointed ambassador to Great Britain. While in England, Rose took the children to Rome for an audience with the pope. President Kennedy helped to get his younger brother elected to the Seate. He has proven an effective senator, although his reputation was severely compromised when a young campaign assistant was killed in an car accident.


The Kennedy family has lost three of the four brothers, all in tragic circumstances. While only Senator Ted Kennedy survives, there is a large number of grand children and great grand children to carry on the Kennedy name.


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Created: 7:21 PM 10/23/2010
Last updated: 7:21 PM 10/23/2010